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Nutrition for menopause – How nutrition can affect hormones

How nutrition can affect hormones

We have a knowledge of how nutrition can affect our physical health as we can both see the changes in our body and feel them. However, we often don’t associate the impact nutrition has upon hormones. Your late 30s to 50s is a period of time whereby women will at some point go through the perimenopause followed by the menopause. A transition in life which many women have read symptoms and stories about unpleasant side effects. Feeling sweaty, depressed, mood swings, headaches, difficulty sleeping and even palpitations which can affect the everyday. The menopause has been brought into the media’s attention through the likes of Mariella Frostrup in The Truth About Menopause on the BBC, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Meg Mathews in Red Magazine, but is there something we can all do to help alleviate these effects?

Nutrition for Menopause

The reason women get symptoms is due to a change in the cyclical pattern of oestrogen and progesterone. During the transition, oestrogen levels decline which affects a whole range of functioning organs in your body. Metabolism and cholesterol levels being some of them. 

Nutrition is a key factor to helping ease menopausal symptoms. We can prepare our bodies well before 30 to help ease the transitional period and for the years in which the body moves through the menopause. Individual ingredients or food groups can help with individual symptoms. 

Healthline say that  some evidence links dairy consumption to a decreased risk of premature menopause, which occurs before the age of 45.”  While studies also show that dairy can also help with sleep. The calcium content of dairy is suggested to help the brain produce Tryptophan, an amino acid which your body uses to turn into a B vitamin called niacin, that promotes sleep. 

Polyphenol-rich foods can also have a positive impact on the menopause and can be easily integrated into your regular diet. A new study identifies that pomegranate, turmeric, tea and broccoli could ease common symptoms of menopause including hot flushes, arthritis and low moods. 

The decline in oestrogen has a direct correlation to the musculoskeletal tissues improving strength and collagen content. During the menopause and the decrease in oestrogen production, it is vital to have a high protein intake to keep muscles and bones strong. Guidelines recommend that women over 50 eat 0.45–0.55 grams of protein per pound (1–1.2 grams per kg) of body weight daily — or 20–25 grams of high-quality protein per meal. 

Turmeric, Ginger and Lemon Immunity-Boosting Tea, Two Cups

Best foods and nutritional habits for menopause

Protein can be found in many natural foods or added as a supplement. 

Certain food and drink with added sugars, processed carbohydrates, alcohol and caffeine can all disturb sleep, potentially increase your severity of hot flushes, and can spike blood sugar and insulin levels after eating. This leads to an increase in lifestyle related diseases. Take a look at this turmeric and ginger immunity boosting tea recipe on the Combe Grove Journal for an caffeine-free alternative. 

A healthy menopause should start with the gut and the understanding of what foods we ingest. Intermittent Fasting has been found to have a significant impact in lowering inflammation, improving digestion and often whilst fasting people increase their exercise which can help symptoms of the menopause such as mood changes, fatigue and weight gain. 

One of the most beneficial actions you can take to help with symptoms of the menopause is to stay hydrated. Due to hot flushes and night sweats, you lose a lot of water whilst going through the menopause. Therefore, you need to up your intake as much as you can during daylight hours. Staying hydrated will not only replenish lost water, but it will also help with some of the side effects such as fatigue and dizziness. Often brought on from dehydration. 

Combe Grove is dedicated to helping you reset and restore your nutritional balance through carefully considered ingredient usage in the food within The Caff in the Courtyard. Low sugar cakes, low carbohydrates and meals produced with local, nutrient high ingredients you can be assured the food you eat at Combe Grove is beneficial for your health. 

Exercise

Exercise is also a useful tip to relieving symptoms of the menopause. Bupa says “Try to include two sessions of muscle-strengthening exercises on at least 2 days a week. Muscle-strengthening exercises are movements where you move your muscles against some resistance. This includes lifting weights, using resistance bands, or doing body weight exercises like press-ups.” At Combe Grove we have a range of classes which can help you achieve this, including Supple Strength, Circuits and Functional Fitness. Take a look at our studio timetable for more information on the classes we have available. 

No matter of your age, or whereabouts you are within perimenopause or the menopause you can start to help conquer the side effects.